Safety is priority one in school transportation. This commitment to safety is why Maine school transportation traditionally has one of the best safety records in the nation. Annual training is the foundation of safety. Each spring school transportation teams participate in six statewide regional school transportation safety conferences.
With transportation experts traveling to each region, the regional conferences provide easy access to training. The conference is designed to encourage excellence in school transportation. Drivers and transportation teams learn the latest transportation knowledge in the classroom and get behind the wheel of the school bus to apply their driving skills in competitions. The 2016 conference schedule is:
- April 19, Southern (Zone 1) – Bonney Eagle High School, 700 Saco Road, Standish
- April 20, Mid-Coast (Zone 2) – Boothbay Region High School, 236 Townsend Ave, Boothbay Harbor
- April 21, Central (Zone 3) – Hampden Academy, 89 Western Avenue, Hampden
- April 22, Western (Zone 4) – Mt. Blue High School, 129 Seamon Road, Farmington
- June 22, Down East (Zone 6) – Machias Memorial High School, 1 Bulldog Lane, Machias
- June 24, Northern (Zone 5) – Fort Kent Community High School, 84 Pleasant Street, Fort Kent
The regional conferences are free. Registration is required. Contact the Maine Association for Pupil Transportation to register. Conference participants receive certificates for six hours of in-service training.
This year’s classroom workshops include how to combat bullying, pre-trip inspection, emergency evacuation, special needs preparation, and communication. Through presentations and discussions transportation teams learn new knowledge.
The hands-on challenges include an obstacle course that reinforces school bus safety measures by testing drivers on pre-trip bus inspections, how to navigate driving obstacles, driving down a narrow passage, stopping perfectly at a stop line, and more. These hands-on, in the bus, tests give drivers the opportunity to measure their driving skills progress from year to year. All skill tests are based on the national driving skills competition.
The top drivers at each regional conference qualify to compete at the Maine State School Transportation Safety Conference competition which is held the third week of July. The state competition winners go on to participate in an international competition.
The Maine Department of Education supports school transportation safety through annual transportation safety conferences that are delivered in collaboration with the Maine State Police and Maine Association for Pupil Transportation. For information about school transportation policy contact Maine DOE’s Pat Hinckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.